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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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TWO OPINIONS ON MAPS TO THE STARS
Nathaniel's Julianne Spazzing & Glenn's Cronenberg Finger Wagging 

"There is a great movie in Maps of the Stars and that is the one Moore stars in, not the one the screenplay insists in bringing to the front." - Mr Goodbar

"If I had to guess why Cronenberg went with a largely "invisible" or even non-style style, I'd say it has to do with his approach to the narrative, which is kind of a bait and switch, setting us up for a hollywood satire and then giving us a final act that plays more like a myth or a fairy tale." -Roark

Beauty vs. Beast

Who is your GODDESS? Cristal or Nomi?

If you don't vote for Nomi, she'll cut you!


VOTE! 

 

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Entries in film critics (98)

Saturday
Jun142014

Links, Kids

Broadway World James Whale's Showboat finally on DVD
AV Club whoa. The Grand Budapest Hotel made entirely out of Legos
Antagony & Ecstacy reviews The Fault in Our Stars with the best review title going anywhere. The rest of the review is another reminder that Tim Brayton is one of the essential online critics.


AP "Dame" Angelina Jolie? She just received an honorary title in England
Deadline Keanu Reeves will take the role vacated by Daniel Craig in that Courtney Hunt (Frozen River) Renée Zellweger picture The Whole Truth so it's back on
In Contention is The Judge with Downey Jr and Duvall an Oscar contender?
Deadline Tom Hiddleson will star as Hank Williams in an upcoming biopic and do his own singing!
The Black Maria looks back at the brief swing music renaissance in 90s cinema. Oh I used to love Swing Kids
Employee of the Month interviews the incomparable performance artist Taylor Mac
Yahoo horrifying slapstick bathroom humor of Paddington teaser will break the hearts of anyone who loved the actual dignified humble character of Paddington in book form. Sigh... here's another flop for Nicole Kidman (who does not appear in the teaser)
Pop Watch wants blockbusters to lighten up and return to fun times. Agreed. Love the list of who is to blame.

Finally...
Though we already gagged over this on Twitter, if you haven't yet seen it because you were mainlining OITNB or (gasp) offline, here is Sarah Paulson introducing her new character... excuse me, new characters on American Horror Story season 4. Meet "Bette" and "Dot"...

 

 

I can't think of an actress on TV that I'd like to see two of more right now, can you?

 

Friday
Jun062014

Links

Vulture Peter Dinklage's high school yearbook folder -- Mullet!
The Playlist Darren Aronofsky might not be ready to lead apocalyptic floods behind. But this time it's for TV with a Margaret Atwood adaptation
The Wire a definitive ranking of Tom Cruise's leading ladies post-Kidman
MNPP Bradley Cooper gets the hose again
THR ewww, Forrest Gump is going IMAX for a 20th anniversary rerelease. 'and that's all i have to say about that' 

Above Average every superhero movie (by which they mean mostly Spider-Man) in one take
TMZ George Jung penned a sequel to Blow while in prison (he just got out). TMZ calls the Johnny Depp movie of Blow a classic. Um... just because something is now 'old' does not make it classic. 
Critic Wire smart piece re: the ongoing story / speculation of why film critics are losing their jobs 
Guardian Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters, Dreamgirls) will direct a live action version of Beauty & The Beast for Disney. The Mouse House is getting hilarious with their regurgitation. How long until we have new versions of all of their product every other year to feed the machine?
Empire first image from Michael Mann's new crime thriller (with Chris Hemsworth & Viola Davis) which is either called Cyber or Black Hat
The Wire on the Harry Potter paraphenalia cameos in The Fault in Our Stars, which is from a different movie studio
Boy Culture congratulations to Matthew Rettenmund, another friend with a new book deal. Everyone's getting 'em lately. His book, called Starf*cker is memoirish about celebrity obsession. (And he's met a ton of them.)

And if you're wondering why there's no link to the story of Lupita's new project that's because it deserves its own article...

Finally...
WNYC published the transcript of a piece about performance artist Lucy Sexton called "I Married The Gay Father of My Child". The reason I'm sharing it here is that her husband is the Oscar nominated director Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliott, The Hours, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close fame. (Occasionally in the past when I've celebrated "out" artists in Hollywood, people have objected to his inclusion because 'he's married!')

Are you a different sort of wife in this marriage than you were in your first marriage?

Sure. Basically the most important difference being that the first marriage started from a romantic place and this did not. So, the purpose and intent is to build a family based in love, and that’s the most important thing. So, there’s a certain freedom. Your identities don’t mesh in the same way.

He can do what he does. I can do what I do. We both have careers in the arts, which take us all over the place and we’re both a very good team about supporting each other with that. I don’t mean to make it sound cold, but I think it’s a great working unit. That’s how it feels. 

Monday
May262014

Wet Hot Linky Monday

Things That Are Not Cannes-Related
Vanity Fair Leonardo DiCaprio in space: the auction! I love it whenever Katey Rich's inner Titanic fangirl comes out.
Coming Soon Wet Hot American Summer to be a series on Netflix now. And, much better news: its now middle aged original cast members will all be playing high school versions of themselves. Love it. Can't wait to see Paul Rudd's sloppy french-kissing again. That movie is such a scream
Playbill oooh, here's a fun unexpected list. Ten artists that are a Tony Award short of the EGOT  from Kate Winslet through Julie Andrews and on to um... Martin Scorsese?

Comics Alliance on how Quicksilver, not a major fan favorite superhero, was suddenly a hot property with two major motion pictures in the space of a year
Star-Ledger interviews Dan Callahan on that Vanessa Redgrave book we told you about a couple of weeks ago
Playbill Jim Parsons on coming out and how The Normal Heart affected his life
Vanity Fair Emma Thompson gives her usual great interview promoting her new comedy with Pierce Brosnan The Love Punch

I’d rather have root canal treatment FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE than join Twitter"

Cannes -Cannes-Cannes
though everyone's flown home
Notebook Miriam Bale on her Cannes experience, David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars and Jean Luc-Godard
In Contention best and worst of the fest 
Critic Wire averages out the grades for this year's slates at Cannes. Highest grades go to Leviathan, Foxcatcher, The Tribe, Whiplash, Two Days One Night, Force Majeure, Wild Tales, Tu Dors Nicole and A Hard Day (the last two of which I haven't previously heard a peep about online.) 
The Telegraph Leila Hatami (A Separation) had to apologize for a public kiss on the cheek at Cannes which angered some Iranians. This world is madness and so wretched to women time and again.
Variety the 7 biggest surprises at Cannes Parties from Leonardo DiCaprio (all business even when peeing) to Lindsay Lohan getting kicked off a yet (um... how does the latter qualify as a 'surprise'?)

And the sales...
The Tribe the tough Ukranian picture The Tribe (the one in sign language without subtitles) has three major European countries nailed down (+ Japan) for distribution. Will we get it in the US? Pretty please? 
The Wonders, the Grand Jury Prix winner is also selling briskly to multiple markets

And a final P.S. on the sales. Sony Pictures Classics who got three of the buzziest Sundance titles early this year were also buying at Cannes. I guess they want a handful of Oscars and not just to dominate the foreign film and documentary again. At this writing here's their upcoming slate:

  • Land Ho! - Sundance comic hit about two old pals vacationin in Iceland [July, review]
  • Magic in the Moonlight - the latest from Woody Allen, which we just discussed [July]
  • Love is Strange - if it's handled delicately and smartly and the critics rally it could be a dark horse Oscar player. Either way, it's going to become a classic down the road. [August, review]
  • Whiplash - Sundance and Cannes hit a father and son drama with Miles Teller as a drummer with a tough dad [October]
  • Foxcatcher - a good bet for multiple Oscar noms but is it too chilly to win statues? [November, review]
  • Mr Turner - this handsome art biopic could be a major player for Mike Leigh [December, review]
  • Infinitely Polar Bear - their only purchase that baffled me at Sundance. But it's got recognizable stars [Opens TBA, reviewed]
  • The Salt of the Earth - buzzy Cannes documentary [Opens TBA]
  • Red Army -another Cannes doc about the Soviet Union hockey team during the Cold War [Opens TBA]
  • Jimmy's Hall - the new Ken Loach from Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Saint Laurent - YSL biopic from Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Wild Tales - the Argentinian comedy won major raves at Cannes [Opens TBA]
  • Leviathan - this Russian film from the director of The Return and Elena was expected to win big at Cannes had to settle for Screenplay. I always worry when these things happen post-buy that the distributor will then put them on the backburner. Hope that isn't the case here. [Opens TBA]

Today's Watch
Mutant super powers aren't just for human anymore. Kittens!

 

Thursday
May222014

Tim's Toons: Oz well that ends well

Tim here. By now, you've undoubtedly all heard the biggest news of the summer movie season so far: there’s a conspiracy by Big Hollywood to bury the little cartoon indie that could, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.

“Legends of which, now?” I can already hear some of you asking.

Exactly the point!  As producer-fundraiser Greg Centineo so sagely put it:

We’re nobodies in this industry. And we stepped into a deep, deep ocean with some very, very big sharks. Some of those mainstream critics have not just trashed the movie, but literally tried to crush it… You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out something is wrong there.”

Damn straight!

It's a well-established fact that critics and audiences tend to agree about 100% of everything, and the movies with the best reviews always make the most money. Surely only a shadowy cabal of self-sabotaging distributors and bought-and-paid for critics could be responsible for the film’s box office failure, and I am disgusted that you might even think it’'s because a handful of con artists fleeced a whole bunch of rich idiots out of their investments on a movie whose reported $70 million budget is clearly nowhere to be seen onscreen, obvious even from the trailer.

More...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May202014

Fantastic Links and When To Blog Them 

The Dissolve Alfonso Cuarón might direct the Harry Potter spinoff Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The internet seems largely happy about this which puzzles me. I understand everyone likes money but isn't this a huge step backwards after Children of Men/Gravity gave us his full auteurist muscle unbeholden to someone else's franchise? I most definitely think so
Pajiba wonders what was up with that airplane curtain closing wordless scene on Mad Men this weekend? 
The Film Doctor asks 9 questions about Godzilla before realizing he's too old for that shit. (I loved Godzilla so much myself that I've been surprised at the level of thumbs down in comments and online)  
/bent wonders why The Kids Are All Right's director Lisa Cholodenko hasn't yet made a follow up to that financially successful and Oscar nominated feature 

Towleroad one of the Vikings in How To Train Your Dragon 2 comes out as gay kinda. (But ParaNorman will always be first in this regard.)
Antagony & Ecstasy on the intuitive, fluid sensory experience of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and its companion novel
Slate Cliff Curtis, ethnic chameleon onscreen 
Gawker "selfie" is entering the dictionary. But why did it take "steampunk" this long?
MNPP JA zeroes in on one sweaty hairy detail of the Weinstein Co's Cannes preview: Southpaw's Jake Gyllenhaal 
The Wire wonders why the internet is so obsessed with Shrek --  I hadn't realized it was (just goes to show you how the interenet is not at all monolithic in terms of its obsessions  -- but this is an interesting article
The New Yorker if you're still grappling with your feelings about Godzilla here's a smart mixed take from Richard Brody which wrestles with the movies grandeur but lack of complexity and its largely passive human characters

Its scale may feel Biblical, but it doesn’t risk the crises and ecstasies, the sheer moral turbulence provoked by existential menace (cf. “Noah”). The monsters in the movie do monstrous battle, while people—the warriors ostensibly arrayed on the front lines against them—are reduced in the foreground to silhouetted spectators. They are the equivalent of the cutout characters of “Mystery Science Theatre 3000,” but without the comfort of a screen to separate them from the mayhem...

He Said / She Said
RogerEbert.com, which I always feel weird about linking to, since the link name always implies that Roger Ebert has written something new but he has of course departed from our mortal coil. Nevertheless, I started to enjoy these opposing pieces from  Michael Oleszczyk and Barbara Scharres on David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars until I remembered after the first couple of paragraphs each that I really really really want to go into this one fresh so I can't read anything. BUT if you're not as "sensitive" as I am about reading reviews before you've seen a movie, that's one rave and one pan from the same site so we are now free to call the movie "divisive" as often as we'd like. It's our favorite kind of critical response - homogeneity being so dreadfully dull. Oleszczyk and Richard Lawson at Vanity Fair both rave about Julianne Moore's performance and that's enough to excite me for now without really reading anything!

Speaking of Julianne Moore...

Here she is with Harrison Ford at a party at Cannes. Remember when nobody knew who she was but her walk in The Fugitive (1993) was so grabby anyway? #whowasthat 

You can see more photos from this particular party at Vanity Fair.

 

Thursday
May152014

Cannes Diary Day 1: Trains, Badges, and Nicole Kidman 

Diana Drumm is reporting from Cannes for The Film Experience

After delays, a cancelled train and discovering the local bus line just went on strike, I hurried from the Cannes train station in an ill-chosen bulky trench coat, swooping up my overfilled laptop bag. Following my newly made acquaintance-guide who I'd bonded with over the inefficiency of French trains (as you do), we scurried through the maze of narrow boutique and cafe-lined streets. The city is brimming with people: the tanned and about to be sunburned, the stiletto-heeled and Doc Marten-ed, the maddening tourists and the maddened locals. After approximately two turns and nearly body-checking at least three walkers of a more leisurely pace, she stopped and I looked up. There was Guido Contini (Marcello Mastroianni in Fellini’s 8 ½) peering over his sunglasses seductively, with a look that falls somewhere between cheekiness and contempt (let’s just call it “rawr”), plastered on the Palais des Festivals. 

Regaining my breath, heart still pacing, I got into the queue. Four of them actually (bag-check, press badge, press queue, another bag-check) all the while terrified as the clock struck closer and closer to the festival’s first press screening. Praying and stroking my good luck charm (a piece of Errol Flynn’s suit) I made my way up three flights of stairs to a seat in the center of the balcony. The lights dimmed, the curtains separated, and the festival’s Opening Night film, the already much-maligned Grace of Monaco, began to roll. (Full review forthcoming)

Though no one booed, there were enough ill-placed guffaws, lit-up mobile phones and hushed chatter mid-screening to indicate that this crowd was less than enamored with Olivier Dahan’s latest about model turned actress turned princess Grace Kelly. As the credits rolled (sappy music over images of red and white roses), I attempted a mad dash to the stairs in order to get to the Grace of Monaco press conference and catch Her Highness Nicole. Unfortunately, almost everyone else had the exact same idea and the handsome security men proved unbribable.


I was one of those left in the celebrity-less cold. Although tempted to leap over the blockade, I'll save that one strike surely ban-worthy offense for Michael Fassbender. But there she was… An ethereal vision in white, with slightly curled longer-than-shoulder-length blonde hair and oh-so-fair skin (lips as plump as cherries), Nicole Kidman walked briskly by the throng of still-waiting and exiled press, surrounded by a posse and giving off her characteristic aura of A-list-seclusion grace. In the midst of my awe, I attempted to snap a few photos of La Kidman, but all three turned out too blurry for your visual consumption.   

Eating my feelings of slight disappointment, I scarfed down a “Croisette” sandwich (smoked salmon, cucumber, radishes, cream cheese and lettuce on ciabatta bread) and the best tasting in-plastic chocolate mousse ever at a film festival food counter. With time to kill before the next screening (not enough for writing, plenty for wandering), I got my bearings around the International Village and the film market -- look out for Jail Caesar starring Derek Jacobi, not coming to a theater near you. Then I queued up yet again for Timbuktu, which, unlike Grace of Monaco, got laughs in the appropriate places and warm, appreciative applause.

Onto Day Two!

Cannes Diary: Day 2 Grace of Monaco | Day 3 Mr Turner & Timbuktu  | Day 4Amour Fou & The Blue Room | Day 5? The Homesman Press Conference and The Homesman Review | Day 7 Mommy, Maps to the Stars &  Two Days One Night

Diana Drumm, who recently completed a stint as one of 8 young critics to take part in the 2nd annual NYFF Critics Academy became a member of our team this February. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her home page. See her previous posts for The Film Experience here.

 

Wednesday
Apr302014

Link Wars: Episode VII

For those looking for the new Oscar charts, I promise it's the top priority now once all this surprisingly busy April madness wraps tonight.

More Intelligent Life on badass Angelina Jolie and Maleficent
Press Play how modern actors struggle with Marlon Brando's legacy
The Perceptive Eye on military suicides, PTSD and The Hurt Locker 
Pajiba how many romcom tropes can David Wain shove into one movie? The trailer of They Came Together with Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd

Guardian on Bob Hoskins (RIP). "five foot six cubic and bursting with brilliance"
Variety uh oh. Harvey Weinstein and Olivier Dahan STILL fighting over Grace of Monaco two weeks before its Cannes debut
The Dissolve looks back at the 80s comedy classic A Fish Called Wanda
The Sheila Variations returns to Young Adult and Charlize Theron's brilliance therein
Boy Culture Tom Hardy's recent magazine pictorial (which we discussed) regif'ed
MZS. "Advice to Young Film Critics" good advice, too.
Coming Soon Fox has cancelled Almost Human, the cyborg cop show that I kinda liked. I never really wrote about it so I didn't have a chance to talk about Karl Urban's John Wayne voice. Ah well...
Queerty in literal cock-tease news, Zac Efron claims he's willing to show it all on film after all the wet underwear, and horizontal peeing and so on... I guess he's figured out what people like about him. (Save your money, Zac!)
Pajiba 'did someone call for a Tom Hiddleston puff piece?'
Rambling Film 7 things that should happen on True Blood's final season (the 7th). I stopped watching but I concurred with most of these even two years ago. Since Buffy also ended as season 7 is this now the standard for vampiric shows? Does this mean we can be rid of The Vampire Diaries in 2015?

Mean Girls Mania
'we're not just a regular blog, we're a cool blog'...

But we're not the only ones celebrating Mean Girls for it's 10th anniversary today. It's EVERYWHERE. On Amanda Seyfried's twitter feed (do you think Lindsay will mention it today on hers?), in a brief EW group oral history, Vanity Fair's best fashion moments, Boy Culture's reminiscence of interviewing cast members, and probably on any pop culture website you click on today. Important note... This wasn't planned since Netflix's Instant Watch service is all contractual based in terms of timing but the Tina Fey high school classic actually expires today. So it's 10th anniversary is the last day you can watch it on Netflix if you don't own it while listening to our Movie-Long Podcast Commentary while you're streaming it!

You go Glen Coco! 

Casting News
HitFix and every other site on earth has the news: the Star Wars Episode VII sausage party cast has been announced. John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and since all visual fx spectacles are required to have him (well, he is awesome) Andy Serkis. Those newbies will join the old cast who are reprising their roles in capacities large or small. There is one new girl Daisy Ridley who we are unfamiliar with. Did she get the part Lupita Nyong'o was rumored for? The Guardian did some mild digging into this actress unknown and here's everything they found.

Today's Spotlight Illustration
Glen Hanson, one of my favorite illustrators, posted this on his Instagram. No idea what film he's doing costume sketches for but me likey...